2017 was a year of a lot of laughs, a lot of cries, and a lot of learning to embrace it all. I learned so much about myself and experienced personal growth in ways I couldn't imagine a year ago. I wanted to share a few of my key experiences from 2017 in hopes that it may inspire you to embrace personal growth in 2018.
I spent a few months going to weekly therapy sessions to work on my anxiety. If you've been following me for a while, you know that I was against talk therapy. However, this time was different. After finding the right therapist and scheduling weekly appointments I learned so much about myself. I learned that my feelings are valid and beautiful even when they are uncomfortable. I learned that anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. I learned how to recognize certain triggers. I learned that self-care isn't selfish. I was able to understand myself and find a bit of clarity in my struggle. (Learn more about my mental health journey here.)
Taking a Stand for Myself
Through my therapy sessions, I learned that my needs are just as valid as others. I tend to be a people pleaser and avoid conflict even if this means I am uncomfortable. This year I took a stand for myself. I embraced boundaries. I listened to my gut. I chose to surround myself with positive people who value me as much as I value them. This made all the difference. Since taking a stand for myself I have been happier and found clarity in my decisions.
Traveled to a Third World Country
In May I traveled to Haiti through my university's study abroad program. This changed my life and I can't fully put in to words all that I experienced. Going to Haiti was way outside of my comfort zone and I didn't know what to expect, but experiencing the gratitude and hardworking nature of the Haitians opened my eyes. I was able to see first hand how social enterprise is creating opportunities, supporting families, and bettering the world. I was able to see how giving can negatively impact a culture. I was able to see that the media's image of Haiti does not highlight their beautiful souls and hard work. The amount of hope and the entrepreneurial spirits that thrive in Haiti are inspiring. Get out there and push the boundaries of your comfort zone! You never know where it might lead you! (Learn more about my experiences in Haiti here.)
I never thought I'd see the day of college graduation. School has never been my forte, but this year I was able to see my journey come full circle. Although I wasn't a huge fan of sitting in classrooms year after year, I was able to see how valuable the connections I made in college were. I was able to create meaningful relationships with mentors who were able to help me grow my business. I reflected on how one class changed my life and led me down a path to social entrepreneurship, The Honest Consumer, and self-employment.
Growing a Business
I will probably dive into this more in a separate blog post, but what a wild ride. This year I was able to grow my network and continue doing what I love. I was able to collaborate with innovative change makers. Growing a business pushes you and forces you to identify your values. I experienced a few rough patches where I struggled to find motivation, but this amazing Honest Consumer community has continued to inspire me. Towards the end of the year, with the help of a few mentors, I was able to come up with a new business model that has the ability to make The Honest Consumer financially sustainable. I'm excited to put this into action and see where the journey takes me in 2018.
Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best in 2018! Don't be afraid to push yourself, embrace challenges, and step outside your comfort zone!